Collecting and Buying Anime Stationery: Where to start?

I’ve always loved stationery. It used to be just notebooks. I have untouched notebooks I’ve had for years. Now it’s also tape and pens. One of the places I’m considering going on vacation next year is a place I’ve considered just because of how many cute stationery shops I’ve found there.

Mixing my two hobbies together is just natural. Bringing them to this blog is just natural. So today I’m going to naturally share my knowledge and share the best places to buy yourself some anime stationery.

AmiAmi/HobbySearch/HLJ

AmiAmi is one of my go-to place for new merch and that includes stationery. I managed to score one of their last Saki tape sets after all! I also have a pen case in the mail and a March order of a notebook and pen underway. It’s easy to get carried away when it’s so cheap…

For masking tape 1, prices will generally always be under 1000 yen with the more expensive ones (above 600 yen) being sets of two. Sometimes trading boxes (example) of tape are released and those are obviously more expensive (around 5000 yen).

Amiami is my go to for this but HobbySearch would work as well. I have ordered from them faaaar less than AmiAmi but they’re still reputable and their selection and prices are close enough.

I have used HobbyLink Japan a lot in the past though. Not so much now but they were my go-to site for awhile years back. My favourite thing about HLJ is some times random things pop up. I’ve been able to score prize figures not available on AmiAmi through them and likewise, looking through their notebook and tape selections I was able to find stuff I had not seen on either of the previously mentioned sites! Prices are, again, super reasonable. Almost bought Macross Delta tape for 400 yen and I don’t even like Macross Delta one bit!

Mandarake

Oh Mandarake. My old foe and friend. I’ve spent more money at Mandarake than any other anime related store.

Mandarake is a chain of stores selling generally used product. This isn’t the case for everything but like, who cares? I’ve never received anything lacking from them even when I got addicted to the 1yen auctions. Stuff like tape and such is new obviously.

I’ve found no advantage to searching ‘masking tape’ on the english site to マスキングテープ on the untranslated one. I think that things are better translated now than they were a few years ago personally. I just bring this up because I’ve never ordered notebooks from them and I feel like that’s where some confusing could come in.

Anyways, Mandarake’s selection isn’t consistent but by god, you’re not going to get better prices than these. What I love most of all is that even limited stuff (Banpresto prizes, cafe items, etc) are cheap. Cheaper than it probably would have been getting them first hand.

‘Stationery’ itself is a handy tag I recommend. It’ll especially help with trying to find those aforementioned prize items. ‘Sticker’ or ‘Seal’ will both net you a whole bunch of items with actual stickers mixed in throughout. I haven’t figured out what the ultimate and best term to find those are. However, the selection is pretty big if you look hard enough.

RightStuf

I’m begrudgingly including RightStuf because I know very well that their licensed selection is commendable, I guess. I haven’t used them in years because their shipping to Canada is outrageous compared to other sites 2 but if you can get past that or live in the States, go nuts.

Most of what they carry is officially licensed good by Funimation and whoever else. So you’re going to get a lot of merch for ‘mainstream’ titles with a Heaven’s Lost Property thrown in to the mix. I must say I’m surprised that the overall selection of notebooks/binders/whatever seems to have shrunk but they have some reasonably priced import items that look interesting.

Anyways, a lot of out of stock and not much variety but worth mentioning I guess!

eBay

Alright, alright, alright. Here me out on this one. There are some things you should always try to avoid buying on eBay. That isn’t to say you van’t get legitimate products from the site. I’ve gotten figures (albeit, prize and trading) and legit stationery but you just have to know where to look.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any tape that isn’t bootleg and a reasonable price. However a lot of the tape I do find is usually exclusive in some way so that’s a bonus.

I’ve had better luck with notebooks. I bought a Doki Doki Precure notebook that had a teeny tiny scribble on the first page but was otherwise in fine condition. I paid only a few dollars for it so it wasn’t like I was terribly upset about this or anything. In fact, I think it’s a bit cute.

Anyways, the key is researching the product and seller (goes without saying I should think) and using your wits. Unless you don’t care about buying outright bootlegs in which case, you do you. There are tons of bootleg pens, tapes and notebooks for you to choose from then.

Etsy/Storenvy

I don’t support bootlegs but I hella support fan creations. Especially with my tape collection, having such a unique roll is thrilling. So I support using these sites to buy fan created designs on tape or what have you. If they’re just using an official, existing image/existing pattern from a piece of merchandise that already exists or worse, using someone else’s fanart then shame on them. That’s the kind of thing that shouldn’t be supported or encouraged. But if the fan/artist made the design themselves then I think this is lovely and should be supported!

Of course these will usually cost a bit more because it’s just a random fan creating the tape/etc but then you get the satisfaction of supporting the artist and that’s pretty cool too.

There are also stores like Aitai Kuji which doesn’t feature any series that are exactly my cup of tea but if legit, offers you a way to get exclusive merch.

Like eBay, just do your research and you should find some really interesting stuff 3.

Rakuten

It’s been awhile since I’ve ordered from Rakuten but it could be because I distance myself purely because I know there are some really good deals to be had and I will spend a lot of money.

Rakuten Worldwide can be tricky to deal with. I found that trying to search a combination of terms brought me the same regular, unrelated items over and over. So you will have to really dig deep to find some good stuff but good deals and products are on the site. But if you’ve got time to kill, digging around can be seriously fun.

AmiAmi also has a store so you may come across the same item a lot. In the past I was able to use this to figure out if they had a Yume Nikki keychain I wanted in stock. It was listed as available on Rakuten but backorder on the Amiami site itself. I ordered it anyways (on Amiami) and sure enough, I got a notification that they had the item within a day. Anecdotal but something to keep in mind.


Hopefully this helps someone out! If you have a favourite site or place to get anime stationery, please share because I’d love to have a look.

 

Notes:

  1. washi tape and masking tape are the same thing, basically.
  2. how does it cost more to ship me two small books from the US than to ship a box of figures from Japan?
  3. Since artists selling tape and what not or often retweeted onto my timeline, I might post about interesting looking stuff being offered on sites like these in the future.

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